Logos are the calling card for your business and can have a tremendous impact. Thus, it is natural to wonder what makes a good logo. Creating a singular image to represent a brand is a hefty task. However, several tips and tricks can be considered when looking to design the perfect logo.
Core Principles of Good Logo Design
What makes a good logo? There is no singular answer; however, there are five widely agreed-upon principles that every logo designer should strive for: simplicity, memorability, timelessness, versatility, and appropriateness.
Simplicity in a logo can be quite effective for several reasons. It can improve recognition. It can also make a logo easier to reproduce on a wide variety of things. Think about some of the most classic logos. Nike’s swoosh and the Apple logo are both effective, simple, and recognizable.
One of the things that makes a logo good is for the customer to remember it. You want your logo to be easily associated with your brand. Think about the golden arches and McDonald’s or Volkswagen’s VW logo. Both are iconic and relate directly to their brand. They stand out.
This one is a bit different. One thing a business doesn’t want to do is frequently change its logo. This creates an unnecessary expense and additional labor. Thus, the goal is a good logo design that will be relevant for a long time even as trends change. Levi’s and Stella Artois both have logos that have been in place for over a century.
When we speak about versatility in terms of good logo design, we mean being able to be used for a wide variety of purposes. Your logo needs to work on websites, paper, advertisements, shirts, and many other things. Thus, it helps to have one that can look good on different backgrounds and in different sizes.
A logo should be appropriate for a brand. This deals with more of a feel. If you own a law firm, your logo should seem professional. A good example of this is Gap. In 2010, the company changed its fashionable logo, and the outcry was immediate, with the new version being deemed far less stylish. They changed within a week back to the staple easily recognized today.
Tips for Logo Design
When trying to determine what makes a good logo for a business, there are many things to consider. However, any graphic designer will tell you that numerous tips can be followed in pursuit of an effective design.
1. Utilize imagery
You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagery is key for logos. Finding an image that communicates what your organization does is an important way to create a good logo for a business. Think of the airplane in the Expedia logo which communicates travel. Imagery can also be used to communicate a feeling. The palm trees backed by a sunset in the Malibu rum logo communicate a feeling of warmth and the tropics.
2. Welcome space
This goes hand in hand with the principle of simplicity. White space is useful for a logo in helping it stand out. You’ll notice that the vast majority of recognizable logos allow for a lot of white space. Think about Adidas and Chevrolet, for instance. White space creates a clean look that helps a logo stand out. It also makes it easier to reproduce a logo on a variety of things.
3. Think monochromatic
When designing a logo, it may be tempting to be very creative with lots of vibrant colors. However, more color is not always the best idea. Look at some of the world’s most recognizable logos and you’ll often see only one color. The vast majority of logos have two or fewer colors. Monochromatic does not necessarily mean black and white. Reebok uses blue and white while Adobe uses red and white. Monochromatic colors are also cheaper to mass-produce. If you do opt for multiple colors, explore the use of different shades of a singular color for a slight contrast.
4. Make your logo pop with color
Color usage should be simple and purposeful. Just a slight bit of color can be very effective in communicating the right message. If you look at the Amazon logo, the only color you’ll see is the yellow smile. The Red Cross only uses color in, you guessed it, the actual red cross. The right use of color can make a logo memorable while remaining simple.
5. Choose fonts carefully
A bad font can ruin an otherwise great logo. Think about the vibe of your organization and pick a font that has a similar vibe. If you are creating a logo for an accounting firm, you want the font to seem strong and professional. If you are designing a logo for a neighborhood diner, you may want the font to appear warm and welcoming with fewer sharp angles. Just because a font looks cool does not mean it is the best choice for a logo. Consider identifying a few different options and getting feedback if you are having a difficult time.
6. It Should Look Good Without Color.
Your logo should be able to stand out even in a black and white format. This will ensure that it looks good in every conceivable format. Consider that it may appear on things like faxed documents or newspaper ads. Thus, when working on a design, be sure to check the colorless format as well to ensure that it still communicates the ideal message.
7. Consider using shapes
An effective way for creating structure in good logo design is to leverage the power of shapes. Blocks or rectangles can communicate professionalism and trustworthiness while circles can communicate a feeling of community and interconnection. Small inclusions such as this can help integrate a feeling into your logo that makes it more memorable.
One of the things that elude many organizations is what makes a good logo design. Designing a stylish logo that meets your needs can greatly enhance your business. When considering how to best represent your organization, try to ensure that a logo can be considered simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate. Logos that can meet these five core principles will tend to be very effective.
As you work to design or redesign your logo, remember the tips in this article. Taking a look at existing logos can help illustrate how many other businesses have been able to implement these effectively. If all else fails, a professional graphic designer can always be consulted to assist with this type of project.